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Ever noticed how your hands form these almost perfect mirror images of each other? Almost perfect, because no matter how you orient them, it is impossible to perfectly superimpose them.

  • 2 June 2022
  • 10:00 - 17:30
  • Trippenhuis - Kloveniersburgwal 29, AmsterdamTravel directions
Decoratieve afbeelding: twee handen met de palmen naar boven gericht

Human hands are perhaps the most recognized example of ‘chirality’a fascinating molecular property where molecules might look exactly alike each other, but differ in symmetry. It plays a key role in properties of molecules, and as such is important for chemical synthesis, but it also impacts the fields of supramolecular chemistry and material science. Chirality has fascinated scientists ever since the 3D models of molecules were proposed by Theoretical Chemist van ‘t Hoff in 1875.

On Thursday the 2nd  of June, the KNAW Van ‘t Hoff Stichting is delighted to present the Chirality Symposium, where the state of the art on chirality in different areas of chemistry will be discussed by some of the world’s most leading scientists on this topic today.


  • Ben List, Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021, director & scientific member at the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research
  • Donna Blackmond, Professor in Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology, Chair in Catalysis, Imperial College London
  • Stephen Goldup, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Southampton, Royal Society Wolfson Fellow
  • Javier Montenegro, Associate Professor at the Department of Organic Chemistry, Principal Investigator at The Center for Research in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Materials, University of Santiago de Compostela
  • Ron Naaman, Principal Investigator at the Department of Chemical and Biological Physics, Weizmann Institute of Science
  • Silvia Vignolini, Professor of Chemistry and Bio-materials, University of Cambridg


  • 10.00 welcome with coffee and tea
  • 10.30 - 11.15 Donna Blackmond, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, USA
    Lecture: Chemical and Physical Models for the Origin of Biological Homochirality
  • 11.15 - 12.00 Javier Montenegro, University of Santiago de Compostella, Spain  
    Lecture: Amphiphilic and Chiral Peptides in Supramolecular (Functional) Systems
  • 12.00 - 13.00 lunch
  • 13.00-13.45 Ron Naaman, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel
    Lecture: Chiral Molecules and the Electron’s Spin- A miraculous match
  • 13.45 - 14.30 Steve Goldup, University of Southampton, UK
    Lecture: The synthesis, properties and applications of mechanically chiral molecules
  • 14.30-15.00 coffee and tea break
  • 15.00-15.45 Silvia Vignolini, University of Cambridge, UK
    Lecture: Colour with a twist: helicoidal cellulose architecture from nature to applications
  • 15.45-16.30 Ben List, MPI Mülheim, Germany
    Lecture: Strong and Confined Acids: Universal Catalysts for Selective Synthesis?
  • 16.30-17.30 reception in Trippenhuis

More information 

Chemists and other scientists with a fundamental understanding of chirality are welcome to join this one-day symposium. You can register free of charge via our registration form. The main language during the symposium is English.

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